Thanks to the media, as well as a host of Web sites and books, medical information is readily available to everyone who is concerned about their health. The goal of TheGoodDoctor1.com is not just to give you information on health topics, but to put it into context. In other words, we will explain what new developments mean. But please remember that the articles on this Web site are for informational and educational purposes only. They are not intended to replace or substitute advice provided by your own medical team. You should always discuss your medical questions and concerns with doctors.
What Is A Good Doctor?
When I hear the phrase “a good doctor,” I think of my father Franz Schachter. To evaluate the care you are receiving from your health care providers, see how well they measure up to the following ten questions:
2. Does your doctor take your insurance? If you need to pay out of pocket, you may limit health care visits.
3. How long do you have to wait for an appointment? A good doctor will squeeze you in if you are having acute symptoms. You need to have physicians who will be able to see you when you need healthcare and not just when it is convenient for them.
4. Does your physician adequately answer your questions? Any illness from heart burn to a heart attack provokes legitimate anxiety and concerns. A good doctor recognizes that the best way to help a patient is to provide the information he or she needs to take full advantage of available treatments. Problems can easily develop when a patient is unaware of basic information or confused about how and why to take prescribed medication.
5. Do you feel comfortable with your physician? A positive doctor/patient relationship starts with mutual respect. A good doctor should not make you feel rushed or anxious. A physician needs to make eye contact as he or she takes the time to listen to a complete description of your concerns.
6. A good doctor returns your calls the same day. Often that means that the doctor cannot call you back before early evening, but you do not have to worry all night to get questions answered.
7. Does the doctor have adequate coverage on nights and weekends? Medical problems do not only occur during business hours. Studies have actually shown that nocturnal body rhythms provoke more health problems in the late night or early morning hours. Make sure that you know how to reach your doctor’s service during off hours. Physicians in private practice often share after hours coverage. In a university based faculty practice such as that at Mount Sinai, the pulmonologists rotate through on-call coverage.
8. Is your physician associated with a good hospital? A good doctor usually has admitting privileges at a major medical center or university hospital. These facilities have the most up-to-date equipment and best staff. They are very selective about whom they allow privileges and an association with. Such a facility is another sign of a physicians’ excellence.
9. Is the doctor’s office “patient friendly”? The staff at the doctor’s offices should be pleasant and helpful. There should be a live person to answer phones, rather than just an automated menu and voice mail. The staff should be willing to make appointments, take messages and answer questions about billing. The staff should be an asset, not an obstacle—and a good doctor should see that it is run that way.
10. Does the doctor get back to you with test results? A good doctor makes certain that you get the results of the tests. Even if all results are normal, you should get results quickly and easily. He should offer to share these results with your other physicians so that all your health care providers are aware of both your problems and medications.